The Chimp Attack – Compassion Before Judgment

I just listened to the most horrifying thing I have heard, the 911 call from the owner of the chimp that mauled a woman in Connecticut. It is a bell you can’t un-ring. If you have not heard it, I don’t recommend listening to it. I’m not even going to link to it in this post. Suffice it to say, that the mauling victim, if she survives, will be permanently altered, both physically and mentally, by this event, and the chimp owner will suffer irreparable psychological damage.

It’s easy as a champion of all thing apes for me to sit in judgment of this woman for keeping a chimp as a pet. They are more than wild animals. They are wild animals with above average intelligence that live in hierarchal groups where the most brutal and cunning rise to Alpha male status. They have a genetic predisposition for violence. They organize “war parties” in the wild and hunt down other chimps that they kill with great zeal. And this is not new information. This behavior has been reported on for decades. Dr. Jane Goodall has brought us groundbreaking information on these great apes for the last 45 years. Chimps are not human. It’s hard to even classify them as animals that operate solely on instinct. They operate on a very deliberate and cognitive level. They think. Don’t misunderstand me. They don’t think like humans. They think like chimps, and chimps think in very primitive (by human standards) and brutal ways. Violence is in many ways the solution.

But it is important for us as a society to not pile on the owner of this chimp. I don’t even want to mention her name here because it’s useless. I’m not a journalist. I’m a writer that keeps a blog of mostly useless observations. This unfortunate woman is going to have to live with her decision for the rest of her life. She kept a chimp as a pet. That decision has left her life in ruins. It is undeniable. She will blame herself for this tragedy until the day she dies, and I don’t wish that on her. She lost her beloved chimp and her friend is likely out of her life even if she manages to survive the injuries. The chimp owner miscalculated the nature of nature. Survival is the first priority of any animal, sometimes even if that animal is human.

Humans may be even worse. There are those who have felt the need to send this woman emails that contain taunts and threats. There is nothing that can be done or said to this woman that will mend the pain and agony she will feel for the rest of her days. The threats are not only vulgar, they are unnecessary. I’m deeply disturbed that the chimp had to be destroyed. I understand the anger. But I also understand that the owner of the chimp has suffered greatly.

The best trait human’s have is compassion. I suggest we use it for all involved in this horrific tragedy.

 

 

 

Bigfoot – A Serious Look at the Legend

The Real Thing

The Real Thing?

 

 

 

Okay, it is well established now that there was no Bigfoot body discovered in the mountains of North Georgia, but sadly there are going to be a few…  slower adults that will still believe the hoax.   And somehow the three guys that cooked up this scheme will find a way to benefit financially.  They’ll write a book, make a film, sell t-shirts, bumper stickers, and signed posters of the now infamous Bigfoot costume in a freezer.   But that’s okay because the people who buy into this crap are the same people who will spend their last twenty bucks on a pack of cigarettes and lottery tickets.  In short, they get what they deserve.

But what about the rest of us?  Where do we go from here?  Look, I write science fiction and horror.  I tend toward the unbelievable.  It’s fun to think there’s a giant undiscovered bipedal ape running around in the forest somewhere in North America.  Is it probable?  No.  Is it possible?  Certainly.  Even Jane Goodall believes in Bigfoot, and she’s been hanging out with apes most of her life.  Who am I to argue?   I believe because it’s just too damn cool not to believe. 

Luckily there are scientist and researchers out there who are seriously considering the possibility of Bigfoot (Which is an awful name.  I like Sasquatch much better).  They are applying sound scientific methodology to the circumstantial evidence that is currently available.  If Bigfoot is ever discovered, a press conference won’t be called by a talk show host and two guys who need help tying their shoes.  It will be called by a panel of scientist with indisputable evidence. 

To that end, Professor Jeff Meldrum has penned the definitive book on Bigfoot.  It’s called Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.  It’s devoid of hyperbole and sensationalism.  Meldrum is an expert in human locomotor adaptations.  He applies his expertise to the evidence that is available.  I recommend the book highly even if you’re a nonbeliever, but most especially if you want to find a reason to believe.   

 

Here is a link to an NPR interview Meldrum did in November of 2006. ‘Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science’.  I’m an author of science fiction and horror.  It’s almost expected of me to believe in something as outrageous as Bigfoot.  But think of everything that Meldrum is risking by saying he’s a believer.  Now think about the extra scrutiny he’s receiving right now because three tools put a Bigfoot costume in a freezer and called a press conference.  BTW – What is wrong with this nation’s media?   They actually sent reporters to the press conference.